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Victims Families Get $1 Million In Chiesa case

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The families of Leslie Hannameyer and Annette Truman have received $1 million in their civil suit against Peter Jordan Chiesa, the man accused of shooting the women to death.

Chiesa, 64, is awaiting a Feb. 9 trial date in his criminal case. The civil suit was filed against Chiesa and his wife Donna in July of 2002.

Peter Chiesa allegedly shot Hannameyer, 43, and Truman, 41, June 25, 2002, while they were clearing tree-trimming debris from a common driveway shared by the three families on property near Wallace.

Chiesa himself had contracted the tree-trimming job himself, but several large limbs and branches remained littering the driveway, according to authorities.

Chiesa had been feuding for several years with the two other families over the driveway and the easement granting access across his parcel, according to then Sheriff Dennis Downum.

Investigators determined Chiesa shot the women in front of Truman´s 11-year-old son Ben, who ran back toward his house to call 911, encountering Hannameyer´s son, Brian, along the way.

Chiesa himself called 911 shortly before the incident, saying he was going to kill the people who were cutting down his trees.

Last October, the families´ attorney, Gary Gallawa, accepted a $1 million offer from Farmers Insurance Co., the Chiesas´ property-owners carrier, to settle the suit.

Deposits to the families´ accounts were made last month. “The families are continuing to grieve, but at least the civil portion of their loss is behind them,” Gallawa said.

He noted that the settlement came entirely from the insurance company. “The Chiesas refused to contribute,” Gallawa said.

Such civil cases are often initiated after the criminal complaint has been settled, but Gallawa said that, in this case, with the likelihood of appeals, there was no assurance the criminal trial would be completed anytime soon.

Gallawa´s Sacramento firm received $20,000 and the remaining $980,000 was divided equally between the two families.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Craig Koscho. For more Calaveras news,